Normal operations resume at Salem Nuclear Power Plant after debris clogged water intakes

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The Salem I and II reactors had reduced power late last month due to unusual amounts of vegetation, logs and other debris that was washed downstream by Hurricane Irene.

The debris clogged water intakes at the plants, which sit along with the Hope Creek reactor on Salem County’s Artificial Island, near where the Delaware River meets the DelawareBay, reducing the amount of water being drawn in to the two Salem reactors.

The Salem Nuclear Power Plant is a two unit pressurized water reactor nuclear power station located in Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey, in the United States.

It is owned byPSEG Nuclear LLC and Exelon Generation LLC.


The two plants draw in and return to the Delaware River three billion gallons of cooling water per day.


With the screens over their water intakes from the river becoming clogged with debris, the amount of water being drawn in was reduced thus resulting in the need to cut power output at the two pants.


Plant spokesman Joe Delmar told Today’s Sunbeam of Salem ( ) that debris in the river has become lighter in recent days, leaving only minor problems at the Salem 1 intakes.


Salem Nuclear Power Plant is located in New JerseyThe three plants at Artificial Island make up the second largest commercial nuclear complex in the United States.

The reactors, both PWRs, were built by Westinghouse, and began commercial operation in 1977 (Unit 1) and 1981 (Unit 2).

The two-unit plant has a capacity of 2,275 MWe. Unit 1 is licensed to operate until August 13, 2036 and Unit 2 is licensed to operate until April 18, 2040.

In 2009, PSEG applied for 20-year license renewals for both units, which were approved by the NRC in 2011.

Safety Issues at Salem

The New York Times has reported that, in the 1990s, the Salem reactors were shut down for two years because of maintenance problems.

Consultants found several difficulties, including a leaky generator, unreliable controls on a reactor, and workers who feared that reporting problems would lead to retaliation.

In 2004, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission took on additional oversight of the Salem plants and increased the monitoring of them.

An extensive investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the subsequent review by hired consultants have found many minor problems, such as lack of routine maintenance and low morale among personnel, but declared the plant safe.

Notable employees

Actor Bruce Willis worked at Salem Nuclear Power Plant as a security guard before pursuing acting.

Source:, via Nuclear Power News: Middle Atlantic U.S. Nuclear Power News
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